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Re: Secondary Flightlessness

>Maybe Orenstein or someone else who knows more about neornithology than I
>might know if anyone has demonstrated that flightless birds really are
>slower metabolically than their flying kin.

Sorry, but I don't know.  The difficulty, of course, would be in finding a
flightless bird that is (a) closely-enough related to a volant form that
comparisons can be meaningful and (b) not so rare that the type of research
required would be out of the question.  The Aldabra White-throated Rail, a
of Dryolimnas cuvieri, might be one; the Flightless Steamer Ducks another. 
Possibly easier comparisons could be made between portions of the annual cycle
for birds, such as some ducks, that go through a flightless period during
moult, but of course feather growth factors in to metabolism too.

>(Maybe the kakapo (sp?  big flightless parrot) might be a good test subject
>for this?)
>Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.

I think not.  For one thing, it is excruciatingly rare and any intrusive
research not directly related to its conservation would almost certainly be
disallowed.  Secondly, it is so unusual in so many ways - in an ecological
sense, it is a parrot trying to be a grouse - that comparisons to other taxa
might be difficult if what you were trying to do was to determine the
associative adaptations to flightlessness alone.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          mailto:ornstn@inforamp.net